Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Michelin-Equipped Mini ALL4 Racings After Dakar 2014 Win
Eleven-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel (six wins on two wheels, five on four) is looking to equal the record of three straight car victories currently held by Ari Vatanen and Jean-Pierre Lartigue. This is the Frenchman’s 25th Dakar and, in addition to having the quick-thinking Jean-Paul Cottret alongside, he has plenty of experience of the Mini.
His chief rival Nasser Al-Attiyah has also switched to X-Raid after winning the Dakar with Volkswagen in 2011 and a one-off attempt in a buggy in 2013. The Qatari and his co-driver, Spain’s Lucas Cruz, recently tested the Mini in Germany.
The 2004 ‘bikes’ winner Nani Roma will share his Mini ALL4 Racing with Michel Périn. The Spaniard won four stages in 2013 but finished shy of the podium behind team-mate Leonid Novitskiy who is not competing this year.
The 2014 X-Raid line-up also stars Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc (N°309), who was eliminated by an injury last year, and rising star Martin Kaczmarski (N°332), 23, who is contesting the event for the second time.
The German team also includes three Argentine drivers. Orlando Terranova (N°307) – who won a stage in 2013 in a BMW X3CC – is making his debut in a Mini ALL4 Racing and stands out as a potential winner. The ex-WRC driver and multiple Argentine champion Federico Villagra (N°330) drove a Mini for the first time on the recent Rallye du Maroc, while Adrian Yacopini (N°334) is competing in X-Raid’s colours, but in a BMW X3CC.
For the first time, X-Raid’s squad includes a Chinese driver, namely Zhou Yong (N°319). Like the Chinaman, Germany’s Stefan Schott (N°337) is competing for the seventh time. This is the third attempt of Chilean Boris Garafulic (N°317) in a Mini ALL4 Racing, while the reigning Russian off-road champion Dimitri Vassilyev (N°314) came second in Morocco and on the Silk Way Rally in a Mini ALL4 Racing/Michelin.
The new technical regulations (production engines) introduced in 2013 has had little effect on the potency of the Mini ALL4 Racings which are still powered by a three-litre, 307hp, bi-turbo diesel engine mated to a Sadev sequential gearbox and X-Trac all-wheel drive transmission.